When asked the dreaded question “summarize your tool in…”, Dr. Stéfan Sinclair cheerfully obliged with the following: “Voyant is a web-based digital text reading environment that is ideally suited for humanities scholars to experiment with text analysis methodologies.” Part of hermeneuti.ca – The Rhetoric of Text Analysis Project, Voyant (originally Voyeur) provides anytime/anywhere text analysis, without the need for additional installed software.
Voyant and hermeneuti.ca function together to provide an extensive suite of text analysis possibilities. Researchers may mine hermeneutic.ca to discover new methods for text analysis or use the existing “recipes” developed by other participants; all of which may be applied within the Voyant workspace. The symbiotic nature of these two resources has made significant strides towards addressing one of the prevalent conundrums of the digital humanities; how to integrate digital tools within traditional research environments.
With his research partner, Dr. Geoffrey Rockwell of the University of Alberta, Dr. Sinclair is now beginning to develop Voyant Notebooks, a web-based editor that will allow researchers to integrate code-snippets, data-analytics and tools results within traditional forms of scholarly discourse. Dr. Sinclair hopes that Voyant Notebooks will eventually become a fully operational scholarly environment, used by researchers from multifarious humanities backgrounds. The Voyant Tool may be accessed at http://voyant-tools.org with additional text-analysis recipes available at http://hermeneuti.ca